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Recall not the best tool for OC

Oregon City voters probably had a pretty good idea what they were getting when they elected Jim Nicita as one of their five commissioners in 2008.

'I'm not in favor of the Rivers project,' he told a crowd at the Abernethy Center in October of that year. 'I'm concerned it's going to compete with downtown and drain downtown … I would shift that urban renewal money back downtown.'

So it should come as no surprise that Nicita subsequently delivered on his campaign promises to oppose Fred Bruning's proposed development of a shopping mall atop Rossman Landfill. Bruning abandoned the project last month amid concerns on the Urban Renewal Commission that the developer didn't have a purchase agreement with the landfill's property owner.

It would be convenient to blame Nicita for the breakdown of the deal by recalling him from office. But if the recall effort is really about his perceived lack of support for business development in Oregon City, then it might be better to offer an alternative candidate in the 2012 election rather than try to recall him now.

Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley recently said that recalls should only be used in cases of graft or incompetence, and former Oregon City Mayor John Williams agrees (see Williams' letter to that effect on this page).

We also agree that recall elections should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances. The better approach is to wait for the 2012 campaign season, when candidates can state their case for development criticism or boosterism in more complex terms. Oregon City voters, and the city in general, deserve no less.